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  • From: Michael Dossett <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Hand pollination question
  • Date: Tue, 4 May 2010 10:36:10 -0700 (PDT)

In our breeding program we always collect flowers ~1 day before they are ready to open, cut them in half, and then place them under a 25 watt light bulb overnight to dry out.  Then the flowers are transferred to small tins and put in the refrigerator.  When we are ready to pollinate flowers we shake up the tins and then wipe up the fluffy pollen with small paintbrushes to transfer to the flowers of interest.  This has worked well for us with Raspberry, Blackberry, Strawberry and Blueberry.
We did some tests this last year on pollen viability to see how long we can store pollen.  We found that raspberry and blackberry pollen viability was close to zero after one week at room temperature (didn't sample for viability earlier than that).  Pollen stored in the refrigerator retained ok viability for a couple of weeks but then dropped off pretty sharply.  Pollen stored in the freezer lasted a little longer than the refrigerator.  Last year's tests were on just a couple of raspberry and blackberry genotypes so we might do some further testing with more extensive sampling to draw hard conclusions but for now we've switched from storing pollen in the refrigerator to the freezer.  I would not expect pollen stored at room temperature to last longer than a few days, though every crop type and and even genotype within a crop will give slightly different results.

Michael Dossett
Corvallis, Oregon

--- On Tue, 5/4/10, R F Hollaus <> wrote:

From: R F Hollaus <>
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Hand pollination question
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <>
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2010, 9:03 AM

To All,

For short term pollen storage,
I collect blooms still closed in the fridge and use a tomato to insert the bottom of the bloom into the tomato to hold it in place.  After a week they tend to open up when changed to room temerature in a dry location such as about 12" away from a 40 watt light bulb.

For long term pollen storage,
Instead of lab equiptment why not go with this idea (see link) -of using some of this "seal-a-meal" stuff to ensure you are giving the best germination rates after freezing for a year.

I found a way of stripping the oviary and pistil away using wire strippers which in my mind reduces the amount of vegitation you have to dry.  I am using peanuts for humidity control, the kind that bagged label as roasted.  (raw peanuts are not dry)  I shelled about 2 dozen kernels out and the humidity goes way down.  Just a thought for only about 20 dollars.

To contain the pollen from displacing you might want to put individual blooms into blank gel caps as purchased in "natural foods" stores.  Then when you are ready you can reach in with what ever you want.   My applicators are pointy red rubber gum massagers as sold at pharmacies.


----- Original Message -----
From: Bob Hartman
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Sent: Tue, 4 May 2010 15:07:45 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Hand pollination question
According to my book, Advances in Fruit Breeding, "It will retain its viability for two to three weeks at room temperature."  The book also states that it can be stored for a year with laboratory equipment.

Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 7:49 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Hand pollination question

Thanks everyone for the advice. There are three of us in the same situation locally and we're going to try both methods that were recommended in the last couple of days (cut branches placed in water at the base of a tree and using a brush or flower). I'll report back when I can tell if it worked.

A couple of further questions:
 Should the pollen show up on the end of a brush when it is shedding or is it too tiny too see (I can't see any yet)? Also, can pollen be stored for any length of time so that an earlier flowering tree could pollinate a later flowering one?

Thanks again.


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